How to Add Water to Acrylic Paint

Updated February 16, 2017

If you enjoy painting, you may prefer using acrylic paints because of their bright colours and quick-drying formula. Acrylic paints, unlike oils, can be used on natural materials, such as paper. If you do not properly put the lid back on a tube of acrylic paint, it can dry out quickly; even if the lid is secure, a tube of acrylic paint that is unused for years may dry out. With a few drops of water, you can restore the paint to its original condition.

Pour some cool, clean water into a cup. Dip your paintbrush into the water.

Remove the brush from the water, and tap it on the side of the cup to remove any excess water.

Using your wet paintbrush, mix the water into the paint until it achieves a liquid consistency. Add some more water, if necessary. Do not pour the water directly into the paint tube.

Use a palette knife to mix the water with the paint, if the paint is very hard. Add the water, then press it into the paint with a grinding motion. You may use more water if the paint does not liquefy.

Do not add too much water to acrylic paint. Keep the amount of water to less than half of the amount of paint. An excessive amount of water may weaken the paint.


You may also purchase a flow-improving additive for your paint, if you do not want to use water. Water can also be used in your acrylic paint if you want to achieve a watercolour-like look.

Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Palette knife (optional)
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About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.